Essential Ingredients for Writing + Editing Your Novel by Beth Barany

Solar 2017 Eclipse Image from NASA Hope you’re well and had a chance to witness the eclipse this week, live or online.

I only caught a sliver of the partially eclipsed sun through the Oakland fog and it was marvelous.

This brings me to my topic for today on the essential ingredients for writing and editing your novel.

First Essential Ingredient

The first ingredient for me is awe — finding the joy and wonder in everyday occurrences and in rare ones — like an eclipse that the whole country gets to experience over the course of 90 minutes.

Moments like these and ones more mundane, like being wowed by the bright orange nasturtiums in the neighbor’s yard, make me pause, and feel, and appreciate being alive.

I want to bring that beating pulse of aliveness into my stories. I want to make my characters come alive and breathe inside my readers.

Second Essential Ingredient

The second essential element is a sense of spaciousness.

I need to feel like I have all the time in the world when I sit down to write or edit.

If I feel the clocking ticking or my other tasks crowding my attention, I feel cramped and have a hard time focusing.

I create a sense of spaciousness by doing a few things: deciding to work on my book for a set amount of time or pages, estimating how much time that will take at a regular pace, and then adding in an extra hour, if I can.

Third Essential Ingredient

A third essential ingredient is planning. If I don’t have a plan, I feel stressed, irritated, and avoid working on my book.

I need to know what I’m doing each day, whether it’s focusing on a read-through, or a deep edit of 2 pages, or drafting brainstorming notes on a heroine’s character arc.

What are your essential ingredients for writing and editing your novel?

Post your reflection in the comments! I’d love to know.

Plan Your Novel Party and Giveaway

Plan Your Novel Party & Giveaway

We’re gearing up to run our 4th Annual Plan Your Novel course October 1-31.

In anticipation, I’m excited to announce that our upcoming free Plan Your Novel Party & Giveaway is open for sign ups here.

Hope you’ll join us. And please, share about the party with your friends who want to work on their novels too!

This PLAN YOUR NOVEL Party & Giveaway is useful for you if you have never written a novel, have always wanted to, and still feel lost on how to go from brilliant idea to The End, or if you always hit that sagging middle and lose focus or lose interest.

Sign up here:


Beth Barany is creativity coach for writers, a teacher, workshop facilitator, and speaker, helping writers address overwhelm and confusion so that they can write, market, and publish their fiction. And make it fun!

Owner of the Barany School of Fiction, an online training hub, Beth takes great interest in how humans learn, create, and grow, and includes all her students’ life experiences, including the ancestors, into the moment. Check out the comprehensive Plan Your Novel course here.

She also writes magical tales of romance and adventure to empower women and girls to jump into life with both feet and be the heroes in their own lives. Check out her Henrietta The Dragon Slayer series here (YA Fantasy) and her magical and romantic Touchstone series here (Fantasy/Paranormal Romance).

Support her mission to empower women and girls with her fiction on Patreon here.

Read her latest book for writers, Twitter for Authors, here.


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